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The new version of YouTube Kids lets parents pick videos for their children

Earlier in April, a report was published noting that YouTube Kids would soon allow for a human-monitored version of the YouTube Kids app in the near future. Well, the near future is now here, and Google announced that it will be rolling out the new features this year.

So what are the new features? Well, for starters, the app will essentially allows parents to whitelist channel collections and topics they want to allow their kids to see — instead of relying on algorithms to choose appropriate content for them. To choose the channel collections they approve, parents can head to the Profile Settings.

Parents can get even more granular than that too. A feature will be rolled out that allows parents to handpick the specific videos and channels they want to allow their kids to see, if they so choose. Last but not least, parents will be able to limit the search function in the YouTube Kids app to only search through content they specify.

This decision was likely prompted as a response to the recent controversies surrounding YouTube Kids. Last year, it was reported that the app was playing host to a number of disturbing cartoons that often featured extreme violence and sexually inappropriate content. Things got even worse when, earlier this year, it was reported that various conspiracy theories had been found in the app.

The new app signals an interesting shift in YouTube’s philosophy. Previously, it had placed a lot of faith in its algorithms to ensure that the site delivers age-appropriate content to children. This move may signal that the company is willing to admit that complex algorithms, while useful, aren’t always the ultimate solution.

YouTube’s use of algorithms has been a problem for its main site as well. Over the past year, we have seen numerous YouTube content creators claim that their videos had been taken down or demonetized due to alleged claims of copyright infringement or inappropriate content. Many content creators reported that their videos had been approved upon review via YouTube employees, signaling that the fault lay with the site’s algorithms rather than the content creators.

Updated on April 25: YouTube Kids app has officially been announced.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Verizon redesigns its parental control app, launches Smart Family
  • Conspiracy theories surface on YouTube Kids
  • Facebook’s Messenger Kids app is now available for Android devices
  • Fitbit Ace is a basic fitness tracker to keep your kids active
  • Google’s slimmed-down YouTube Go app is coming to more than 130 countries


Volvo’s Polestar 1 luxury hybrid will cost $155,000

At the Geneva Motor Show last month, Volvo flaunted its long-range plug-in hybrid Polestar 1, which can pull with 600 horsepower thanks to its two electric motors and a 2.0 liter turbo engine. The final price on such a beast has just been revealed at Auto China 2018 in Beijing: $155,000 in the US, €155,000 in Europe and 1.45 million RMB in China.

Pre-orders for the luxury hybrid opened to over 7,000 people in 18 different countries in March; they were able to place a deposit on the first models available. Like vehicles from BMW, Ford, Lincoln, and other cars from Volvo the Polestar 1 will be available via subscription. “Polestar engagement will be digital and our cars will be offered primarily on a subscription basis,” said President of Polestar China in a statement. “With one monthly payment covering all of the traditional costs associated with car ownership, we enable the customer to focus on the enjoyment of driving. We believe that this will help Polestar form a new relationship between ourselves and our customers.”

Source: Polestar


Volvo aims for half of its sales to be fully electric by 2025

Last year, Volvo announced that starting in 2019, all models it unveils will have an electric motor, whether it by a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid or a fully electric EV. Today, Electrek reports, the automaker has added to its electric goals. At the Beijing Auto Show today, CEO Håkan Samuelsson said that by 2025, the company would like half of all sales to be for fully electric vehicles. “Last year we made a commitment to electrification in preparation for an era beyond the internal combustion engine,” said Samuelsson. “Today we reinforce and expand that commitment in the world’s leading market for electrified cars.”

In June, Volvo relaunched its Polestar performance brand as a standalone line focused on electric cars and the company also said last year that it would release five fully electric models between 2019 and 2021, three under the Volvo brand and two under Polestar.

Most automakers have set some sort of EV goals for the near future. Mercedes-Benz said last year that it plans to offer electric versions of all of its cars by 2022 while Aston Martin announced that all of its vehicles would be hybrids or EVs by the mid-2020s and a quarter of its sales would come from EVs by 2030. Volkswagen is aiming to offer electric versions of each of its existing models by 2030 and is shooting for 80 new EVs across its brands by 2025. And Jaguar said last year that all of its new cars will be a hybrid or an EV starting in 2020. Meanwhile, Honda announced in 2016 that it wants two-thirds of its vehicles to be electric by 2030.

Volvo doesn’t yet have a fully electric vehicle in its lineup, but one is expected out next year.

Via: Electrek


Sheryl Sandberg: Facebook has ‘thought about’ paid subscriptions

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of a Senate commission earlier this month, he made a statement that hinted at the company exploring paid subscriptions down the line. He specifically said that they would always offer a free version of Facebook, leaving the door open for other paid versions as well. On today’s earnings call, COO Sheryl Sandberg got even more concrete, saying that “we’ve certainly thought about lots of other forms of monetization including subscriptions, and we’ll always continue to consider everything.”

The latter half of that statement is the expected executive speak about everything being on the table, but the fact that Sandberg specifically mentioned subscriptions so soon after Zuckerberg hinted at a paid version of Facebook is worth taking note. Neither executive has talked about what might differentiate a paid Facebook experience from what the site currently offers — but if it’s more privacy protections, a lot of people will probably at least investigate signing up. It wouldn’t take a lot of Facebook’s massive user base to turn this into a notable revenue generator.


Zuckerberg: It’s easier for AI to detect nipples than hate speech

Today, Facebook released its Q1 earnings, which showed the company can still make more money and attract more users year-on-year despite staggering controversy. During a Q&A session after with Mark Zuckerberg and other executives, the CEO fielded a question on artificial intelligence’s role in automatically detecting harmful content on the platform. Its AI isn’t so good at catching hate speech, but has done a great job intercepting terrorist content. Some things are just easier for robots to spot, Zuckerberg elaborated:

“It’s much easier to build an AI system to detect a nipple than it is to detect hate speech,” he said.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Facebook’s AI can spot nipples given the platform’s history of banning, then begrudgingly allowing, breastfeeding and nudity in iconic photos. (Though it still doesn’t let folks #freethenipple on Instagram.) But Facebook has outlined practical reasons for why its AI should be combing the platform for nipples. Its adult and nudity policy lists all the content the platform removes by default — not just for users more sensitive to sexual imagery, but to prevent the sharing of content depicting non-consensual acts or underage people.


Ford will stop selling most of its cars in North America

If there was any doubt that the auto industry is rapidly changing, Ford just delivered proof. The industry pioneer is scaling back its North American small car lineup in North America to just two vehicles, the Mustang and the unrevealed Focus Active crossover, in the “next few years.” The rest of its range will be limited to SUVs, trucks and commercial vehicles. Ford isn’t shy about its reasons: “declining consumer demand and product profitability” make it impractical to develop other sedans. You’d better act quickly if you’ve been looking at a brand new Fusion or Taurus.

While the brand wasn’t too specific beyond that, it noted that it was adding hybrid powerplants to many of its vehicles, ranging from the Mustang to historical gas guzzlers like the Explorer and F-150. It reiterated that it’ll launch its first all-electric vehicle (the Mach 1 SUV) in 2020, and that it would have 16 EV models on the market by 2022. Some of the incentives for buying small cars, such as fuel economy, are going out the window — you don’t need to buy a compact car to get decent mileage. Combine that with North America’s fondness for SUVs and small cars faced a major challenge.

There’s also the matter of overall declining car ownership. Even if you discount changing tastes and economic situations, there just isn’t as much reason to own a car as there once was. You can order many products online instead of visiting the store, and ridesharing can frequently cover quick trips. That’s before self-driving cars arrive, too. Why pour so much money into sedans when many people might hop into robotic cars?

Other automakers haven’t cut most of their lines, and we wouldn’t count on when competitors like Honda and Toyota are still committed. Just don’t be surprised if Ford’s move is the start of a trend rather than an exception.

Via: TechCrunch, Autoblog

Source: Ford (PDF)


Sonos One, Playbase, and Play:5 Will Support AirPlay 2 Functionality

When Sonos introduced the new Sonos One back in October, the company confirmed it would add AirPlay 2 support to Sonos speakers later in 2018.

At the time, Sonos did not specify which of its devices would support the new protocol, but Sonos appears to have offered some clarification in the form of new details provided to Mac Observer.

Mac Observer says native AirPlay 2 support will be available on the Playbase, the newest version of the Play:5, and the Sonos One.

Older Sonos speakers will not support AirPlay 2 on their own, but they can be paired with the Playbase, the Play:5, or the Sonos One to enable AirPlay 2 functionality. A Sonos Play:1 grouped with a Sonos One, for example, will support AirPlay 2.

Since we all like things to be simple, here’s the easy test to remember: if your Sonos has touch controls, it natively supports AirPlay 2. If your Sonos is old enough to have buttons, it only supports AirPlay 2 in a group.

Apple thus far has not released AirPlay 2, despite the fact that it was first introduced as a feature of iOS 11 back in June of 2017. AirPlay 2 functionality was initially included in iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 betas, but it was pulled ahead of the release of those updates.

AirPlay 2 functionality is now included in iOS 11.4 and tvOS 11.4, but it is not yet clear if the features will be included in the final version of the software.

Related Roundup: iOS 11Tags: AirPlay, Sonos
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ClutchPoints gives a new view to mainstream sports (review)

There are several sports apps on the market, and most of them try to be everything to everybody, covering pretty much every angle of every sport imaginable. While a noble effort, and appealing to the greatest number of potential fans, a lot of times this ends up making the app interface a confusing labyrinth; resulting in a convoluted mess.

While there are a number of ways to track your scores and highlights, a newer option out there has come into the limelight: ClutchPoints, a sports news and tracking app, much like the big boys out there….but with one main difference.

ClutchPoints focuses only on the mainstream pro sports; and in that just the “big 3”: MLB baseball, NBA basketball, and NFL football. That’s it. No beach volleyball, cricket, or other ancillary pro and amateur sports vying for your eyeballs.


The idea seems to be, “Hey, let’s start with the popular sports apps, and pare it down to just the most mainstream sports. Then let’s freshen it up with intense colors, uber-modern layouts, and photos & videos everywhere!”. And for the most part, they hit the mark.

Opening ClutchPoints, you have a pretty modern interface, looking much like a very clean sports website (there is an established website that the app emulates). At the top you pick from your 3 sports leagues, MLB, NBA, and NFL. Within each you can also pick your favorite/primary teams to follow, to ensure these appear first and most often.
The NBA playoffs are amongst us; two months plus of non-stop pro basketball bliss for casual & hardcore fans alike. Let’s use these games as the focus for this review…

At the bottom of your screen you have several icons:

  • A ball (games)
  • A newspaper (news)
  • A trophy (playoffs)
  • A graph (team & player stats)
  • A generic avatar (the social corner, using Facebook as your hub)

Pick your favorite team(s)

News, news, & more news!

Game recaps

Starting out with games, you get what I’d call a “scrolling newspaper” effect. Each of today’s games (you can choose days by scrolling left-right-left from the top) is listed top-to-bottom in its own block. Each game shows the score (duh), plus several videos/photos/news overlays in a mini-slideshow right in the window. There’s also a button to allow you to vote on who will win, and also a comments section to talk (argue) about who’s going to win, and why.

Even More Features

Clicking on the game takes you to several more options:

  • Stream (a live-blog with immediate highlights and small real-time news snippets)
  • Box score (self-explanatory)
  • Matchup (a mix of stats and graphs; similar to the game summary a network put on-screen coming out of halftime but updated in real-time).
  • Play by Play (a time-stamped narrative of each score, rebound, timeout, etc.)

Get different views of the game

The color palette was very noticeable to me, in that in addition to a deep red-to-blue transition in the background, each block of game or news provides a contrasting color that is wonderfully organic yet contrast-y. I don’t know a better way to put it, but it’s one of the best overall uses of color I’ve ever experienced in any app, ever. ClutchPoints really nailed this aspect of their app build.

What Else?

The News section is impressively updated and comprehensive at the same time. In this

Feed your stats appetite!

section the sports are compiled by chronology, listing all the trending stories in the Big Three, with live links to tweets and other social media posts.

As a closet stat-head, the graphs tab may be my favorite. This is a scrolling list of statistical categories (scoring, assists, etc.). Under each category is the live list of that stats leaders, by team & player, scroll-able left-to-right.

Perhaps the best part about this page is the speed of this page. I could scroll up/down and left/right/left, at what almost felt simultaneous. The movement/animation is extremely smooth, and the presentation is very efficient. You get the category, team/player, and categorical stat, and that’s it. With this approach, you can plow through all kinds of categories and get your numbers fix in satisfyingly extreme speed…..sweet.


If you can’t tell by now, I’m truly & very impressed with ClutchPoints. If you’re into any combination of the Big Three pro sports leagues, you owe it to yourself to give this app a test ride. Chances are you’ll find ClutchPoint’s approach a fresh breath, and one you’ll want to hang to.

Download the ClutchPoints app from the Play Store


Pro gaming team signs 13-year-old ‘Fortnite’ player

Among the four members making up pro gaming organization Team Secret’s new European Fortnite squad, one stood out: 13-year-old Kyle “Mongraal” Jackson. Almost immediately after the team was introduced today, news outlets jumped on Jackson’s youth. Even if he may not hold the record (some say the then-12-year-old Jun “TY” Tae Yang was picked up to play StarCraft in 2006, noted, the Fortnite ace is one of the youngest ever signed to pro team.

Perhaps in reference to his youth, Team Secret cheekily introduced Jackson as ‘pound for pound, UK’s best.’ Apparently, he had been playing with his other three teammates before, and the pro gaming organization picked up the squad intact and christened it their official Fortnite team, according to ESPN. Team Secret’s CEO John Yao didn’t actually know Jackson was that young when he signed him and his older (17-, 20- and 21-year-old) teammates.

“I actually had no idea he was 13 until the team told me,” Yao told ESPN. “Because when we looked at some of the videos and we looked at their game play, it was not apparent. What immediately stood out to me was how mature he was, and he sounded just like one of the other guys.”

To prove the foursome’s chops, Team Secret added a highlight reel. Doubters can see Jackson’s prowess at 1:19, where he demonstrates the fanatically fast construction-duelling that’s come to characterize Fortnite’s high-skill combat.

Yao admitted to ESPN that age restrictions might lock Jackson out of competition, but even if Epic Games establishes a minimum if (or when) it introduces a formal Fortnite league, tournaments probably won’t have a requirement. Still, competitive gaming is already grappling with its young playerbase. The Overwatch League has fired a pair of players for hate speech and alleged sexual harassment. Teams want to field late-teen and early-20s talent for their top-tier skills, but immaturity and unprofessionalism have stained pro competition.


Source: Team Secret


Electronic locks in over 40,000 hotels worldwide compromised, says security firm

Security research firm F-Secure has discovered a critical vulnerability in electronic locks made by the world’s largest lock manufacturer, Assa Abloy. The vulnerability allowed F-Secure researchers to gain access to any locked room in hotels secured by one of Assa Abloy’s electronic lock systems — leaving roughly 40 thousand major hotels around the world potentially exposed.

“The researchers’ attack involves using any ordinary electronic key to the target facility – even one that’s long expired, discarded, or used to access spaces such as a garage or closet. Using information on the key, the researchers are able to create a master key with privileges to open any room in the building. The attack can be performed without being noticed,” F-Secure’s announcement reads.

With this exploit, F-Secure researchers were able to gain “master key” access to any hotel facility using Assa Abloy’s VingCard system — all they needed was a guest’s key card. Using off-the-shelf hardware, F-Secure’s researchers were able to read these key cards remotely — say, through your pocket — and using the same device, effectively circumvent the electronic key card system’s protections in just a matter of minutes, creating their own master keys out of thin air. To be clear though, this system is primarily used in the hospitality industry, and consumer Assa Abloy products are unaffected.

“You can imagine what a malicious person could do with the power to enter any hotel room, with a master key created basically out of thin air,” said Tomi Tuominen, practice leader at F-Secure.

Tomi said F-Secure doesn’t believe anyone is currently using this exact exploit in the wild, which should help all you frequent travelers breathe a sigh of relief. Still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t similar vulnerabilities in electronic key card systems. After all, F-Secure’s odyssey to discover this vulnerability was kicked off after one of its researchers experienced a similar exploit firsthand.

“The researchers’ interest in hacking hotel locks was sparked a decade ago when a colleague’s laptop was stolen from a hotel room during a security conference. When the researchers reported the theft, hotel staff dismissed their complaint, given that there was not a single sign of forced entry, and no evidence of unauthorized access in the room entry logs,” the announcement continues.

F-Secure has been working hand in hand with Assa Abloy to mitigate this particular vulnerability and develop software patches for all affected hotel properties.

“I would like to personally thank the Assa Abloy R&D team for their excellent cooperation in rectifying these issues,” said Tuominen. “Because of their diligence and willingness to address the problems identified by our research, the hospitality world is now a safer place. We urge any establishment using this software to apply the update as soon as possible.”

Editors’ Recommendations

  • SimpliSafe and August Lock integrate smart locks with security systems
  • Why Ring’s porch-protecting cameras made it a no-brainer acquisition for Amazon
  • AMD is working on fixes for the reported Ryzenfall, MasterKey vulnerabilities
  • August Home smart locks expand integration with Google Assistant
  • Control front door security from your phone with the Nest x Yale Lock

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